Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.
American Bird Conservancy asks for uniform wind-farm guidelines
On Wednesday, the American Bird Conservancy petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to create uniform systems of siting and permitting wind farms to protect birds, citing the increase in wind turbines more than 200 feet tall from 950 in 2003 to nearly 80,000 in 2010.
Los Angeles Times; Dec. 16
Federal budget negotiations boot Montana Forest Jobs measure out of bill
Negotiations on the 2012 omnibus spending bill resulted in Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act being excised from the must-pass budget bill, and ended the bill's chances of passing in 2011.
Ravalli Republic (Missoulian); Dec. 16
Million unfazed by environmental groups' opposition to Colorado water pipeline
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has received more than 170 comments on Colorado businessman Aaron Million's proposed pipeline to ship water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range cities, and on Thursday, environmental groups in the region chimed in with their objections, but Million said interest from energy companies interested in obtaining water to use in hydraulic fracturing made the project all the more feasible.
Denver Post; Dec. 16
Pacific NW communities struggle with air-quality issues caused by wood smoke
Smoke from wood stoves is pushing air quality below acceptable federal standards in communities in the Northwest such as Tacoma, Wash., Libby, Mont., and the Cache Valley in Idaho.
Earthfix.org; Dec. 16
National Park Service backs away from policy on banning plastic bottles
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, who derailed the Grand Canyon National Park's proposal to ban plastic beverage bottles last year, has relented a bit, and now the NPS will allow parks to implement such a ban if they complete a process to document how such a ban will eliminate waste and affect concessionaires and nonprofits that support parks.
New York Times; Dec. 16
Montana issues permit for Keystone XL pipeline
The Keystone XL pipeline project is proposed to carry Alberta oilsands south to refineries on Texas' Gulf Coast, crossing six Montana counties on its path south, and on Thursday, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced it would issue a permit for that stretch of the project, which is still awaiting federal approval.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 16
Kinder Morgan's bid for El Paso Corp. a big bet on hydraulic fracturing
Kinder Morgan's $21-billion offer to buy El Paso Corp. would create a the largest pipeline company in the nation, a factor that opens the deal up to antitrust scrutiny, but the offer is seen as Richard D. Kinder, chief executive of Kinder Morgan, confidence that the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, will continue to crack new sources of oil and gas which will need to be moved to market.
New York Times; Dec. 16
Headwaters News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.